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David Lewis QC

BA (Jurisprudence) First Class Hons.

David Lewis is a specialist advocate practising in a wide range of general commercial and private international law disputes. He has a particular expertise in international arbitration and the conflict of laws. He took silk in 2014 at the age of 36.

He appears in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and before various arbitration tribunals worldwide (including LMAA, LME, LCIA, ICC, SIAC, DIFC-LCIA and HKIAC), as well as in mediations. Since 2005 he has been a CEDR Accredited Mediator. He is also registered to appear before the DIFC Courts and the Singapore International Commercial Court.

From October 2009 to October 2010, he was based in Singapore, pursuing a practice in international arbitration. While there, he was shortlisted for Young (under 40) Professional of the Year by the British Chamber of Commerce.

He is routinely praised and recommended across a number of areas in the legal directories, from which a selection of quotes are set out below.

Having commenced practice at 20 Essex Street in 2000, between September and December 2000 he worked as a Judicial Assistant to the Court of Appeal, Civil Division.

Specialisations: 

  • Arbitration
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Shipping
  • Shipbuilding
  • Sale of goods
  • Civil Fraud
  • Banking
  • Conflicts of Laws
  • Insurance and re-insurance
  • Mediation

A list of David's principal reported cases are below, details of confidential arbitrations are available on request.

Principal Cases: 

Conflicts of Laws

Marex Financial Ltd v Carlos Sevilleja Garcia [2017] EWHC 918 (Comm.), Commercial Court – alleged dissipation of company assets – freezing order - limits of the tort jurisdictional gateway for service out – scope of the Lumley v Gye tort and the tort of causing loss by unlawful means – rule against reflective loss.

Emerald Bay Ltd & Ors v Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Ltd, Civil Appeal No. 7 of 2016, Gibraltar Court of Appeal – alleged fraudulent misrepesentations inducing share sales – anti-suit injunction – Article 25 of the Brussels Regulation Recast – New Jersey online gaming market.  

Shipowners' Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association (Luxembourg) v Containerships Denizcilik Nakliyat ve Ticaret AS, [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 641, Court of Appeal – anti-suit injunction in support of arbitration – third party direct action – “pay to be paid rule” – comity.  

Sovarex v Romero [2011] 2 Lloyds' Rep. 320, Commercial Court - enforcement of arbitration award relating to sale of sunflower seeds - proper procedure under s. 66 of the Arbitration Act 1996 - question of whether award debtor had participated in arbitral proceedings relating to jurisdiction - effect under Brussels Regulation of competing Spanish proceedings relating to validity of contract.

FR Lurssen Werft GmbH v Halle [2011] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 265, Court of Appeal, [2010] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 20, Commercial Court - shipbuilding - commision on sale of megayacht - governing law of commission agreement - Contracts (Applicable Law) Act 1990- Article 3(1) of the Rome Convention - forum non conveniens.

Choil Trading SA v Addax Trading SA (2009) 106(39) L.S.G. 22, Commercial Court - joint venture arrangement for supply of oil - individual purchases of oil - jurisdiction under Article 17 of the Lugano Convention - whether jurisdiction agreements for individual purchases applicable to joint venture arrangement.

Galaxy Special Maritime Enterprise v Prima Ceylon Ltd [2006] 2 Lloyd's Law Rep. 27, Court of Appeal - grounding of vessel in Sri Lanka - parallel proceedings in England and Sri Lanka - claim under Lloyd's Average Bond for contributions to general average and salvage -appropriate forum.

Newsat Holdings Ltd & Ors v Zani [2006] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 707, Commercial Court - alleged fraudulent misrepresentations relating to satellite rights - permission to serve out of the jurisdiction under CPR 6.20(8) - worldwide freezing order.

Ace Insurance SA-NV (formerly Cigna) v Zurich Insurance Company - appeal to the House of Lords - Brussels and Lugano Conventions - s. 49 of the CJJA 1982 - compatibility of the discretionary power of forum non conveniens with the Conventions.

Latchin t/a Dinkha Latchin Associates v General Mediterranean Holdings SA [2002] C.L.C. 330, Commercial Court - challenge to jurisdiction - Claimant bringing action against Luxembourg registered defendant, alleging domiciled in United Kingdom - Brussels Convention, Articles 2, 5(5) and 6(1) - forum non conveniens.

National Justice Compania Naviera S.A. v Prudential Assurance Company Limited ("the Ikarian Reefer") , Queen's Bench - order for examination on and production of books and assets under RSC O. 48.1 - Brussels Convention, enforcement regime, Articles 16(5), 24.

Arbitration

Xstrata Coal Queensland Pty Ltd v Benxi Iron & Steel (Group) International [2017] 1 All E.R. (Comm.) 299, Commercial Court – LCIA Arbitration Award relating to coal sale contract – failed enforcement - six-year extension of time under s. 79 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to correct ambiguity.

Shipowners' Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association (Luxembourg) v Containerships Denizcilik Nakliyat ve Ticaret AS, [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 641, Court of Appeal – anti-suit injunction in support of arbitration – third party direct action – “pay to be paid rule” – comity.  

S v A & B [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 605, Commercial Court – extension of time to challenge ad hoc coal sale contract arbitration award – serious irregularity – fitness for purpose. 

Parbulk II A/S v Heritage Maritime Ltd SA (The "Mahakam") [2012] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 87, Commercial Court - S. 69 appeal against arbitration award - Bareboat Charterparty - whether demands for future hire amounted to waiver of failure to pay hire instalment or to waiver of more general repudiatory breach - upholding an arbitration award on a point of law decided against Respondents to a s. 69 appeal - justifying a termination notice retrospectively on grounds not specifically identified in notice.

Sovarex v Romero [2011] 2 Lloyds' Rep. 320, Commercial Court - enforcement of arbitration award relating to sale of sunflower seeds - proper procedure under s. 66 of the Arbitration Act 1996 - question of whether award debtor had participated in arbitral proceedings relating to jurisdiction - effect under Brussels Regulation of competing Spanish proceedings relating to validity of contract.

The Saldanha [2011] Lloyd's Rep. 187, Commercial Court - seizure by pirates - whether vessel off-hire - appeal against arbitration award.

Inta Navigation Ltd v Ranch Investments Ltd [2009] 1 C.L.C. 887, Commercial Court - sale of ship - right of first refusal - appeal against arbitration award - MOA conferring right of first refusal on buyers to purchase second newbuild vessel - whether resulting contract on Norwegian Saleform terms or on novation terms.

Sanhe Hope Full v Toepfer International [2008] 1 Lloyds Rep. 458, Commercial Court - sale of goods - contract for sale of Brazilian soybeans - buyers in repudiatory breach - measure of damages - appeal from FOSFA Appeal Arbitration Award - FOSFA 22 clause 27 - whether sellers sustained any loss.

Bernuth Lines Ltd v High Seas Shipping Ltd [2006] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 537, Commercial Court - arbitration application - initiation and conduct of arbitration exclusively by email - whether arbitration validly commenced and conducted.

Shipping

Shipowners' Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association (Luxembourg) v Containerships Denizcilik Nakliyat ve Ticaret AS, [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 641, Court of Appeal – anti-suit injunction in support of arbitration – third party direct action – “pay to be paid rule” – comity.  

CIMC Raffles Offshore (Singapore) Ltd and Anr v Schahin Holding SA [2013] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 575, Court of Appeal - guarantee for sums due under shipbuilding contract on delivery of drilling rigs - subsequent variation in shipbuilding contracts - whether guarantee discharged - whether subsequent variation within the "general purview" of the guarantee so that anti-discharge provisions could operate.

Yilport Konteyner Terminali Ve Liman Isletmeleri AS v Buxcliff AG and ors [2013] 1 Lloyd's Law Rep. 378, Commercial Court - container vessel damaged in collision at sea - port operator agreeing with shipowners to discharge damaged containers - dispute as to the charges which operator was entitled to levy and whether operator entitled to charge uplifted rates - whether charges challengeable only on grounds of Wednesbury unreasonableness - degree of vouching necessary.

Parbulk II A/S v Heritage Maritime Ltd SA (The "Mahakam") [2012] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 87, Commercial Court - S. 69 appeal against arbitration award - Bareboat Charterparty - whether demands for future hire amounted to waiver of failure to pay hire instalment or to waiver of more general repudiatory breach - upholding an arbitration award on a point of law decided against Respondents to a s. 69 appeal - justifying a termination notice retrospectively on grounds not specifically identified in notice.

Glory Wealth Shipping v Korea Line Corporation (The Wren) [2011] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 370, Commercial Court - time charterparty - damages for wrongful repudiation by charterers - lack of available market at time of repudiation - effect of revival of available market - scope of the principle in The Elena D'Amico.

The Saldanha [2011] Lloyd's Rep. 187, Commercial Court - seizure by pirates - whether vessel off-hire - appeal against arbitration award.

FR Lurssen Werft GmbH v Halle [2011] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 265, Court of Appeal, [2010] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 20, Commercial Court - shipbuilding - commision on sale of megayacht - governing law of commission agreement - Contracts (Applicable Law) Act 1990- Article 3(1) of the Rome Convention - forum non conveniens.

During 2010, David Lewis was a consultant to the Singapore Maritime Foundation on the drafting of the new Singapore Sale Form for the sale of second-hand tonnage.

Inta Navigation Ltd v Ranch Investments Ltd [2009] 1 C.L.C. 887, Commercial Court - sale of ship - sight of first refusal - appeal against arbitration award - MOA conferring right of first refusal on buyers to purchase second newbuild vessel - whether resulting contract on Norwegian Saleform terms or on novation terms.

The Newforest [2008] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 504, Commercial Court - Charterparty (Voyage) - demurrage - charterparty providing for demurrage to be calculated on basis of statement of facts - statement of facts referring to bad weather - owners subsequently seeking to assert that delays not caused by bad weather - status of statement of facts - whether charterers liable for demurrage.

Galaxy Special Maritime Enterprise v Prima Ceylon Ltd [2006] 2 Lloyd's Law Rep. 27, Court of Appeal - grounding of vessel in Sri Lanka - parallel proceedings in England and Sri Lanka - claim under Lloyd's Average Bond for contributions to general average and salvage - appropriate forum.

Bernuth Lines Ltd v High Seas Shipping Ltd [2006] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 537, Commercial Court - arbitration application - initiation and conduct of arbitration exclusively by email - whether arbitration validly commenced and conducted.

The Laemthong Glory (No. 2) [2005] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 632, Commercial Court - Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act, 1999 - charterers entitled to require vessel to discharge cargo against letter of indemnity - receivers' letter of indemnity addressed to charterers and not shipowners - whether shipowners entitled to enforce receivers' letter of indemnity against receivers under 1999 Act - whether shipowners entitled to specific performance.

Sale of Goods

Xstrata Coal Queensland Pty Ltd v Benxi Iron & Steel (Group) International [2017] 1 All E.R. (Comm.) 299, Commercial Court – LCIA Arbitration Award relating to coal sale contract – failed enforcement - six-year extension of time under s. 79 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to correct ambiguity.

SARPD Oil International Limited v Addax Energy SA [2016] 1 CLC 336, Court of Appeal – security for costs against BVI claimant refusing to disclose financial information.

S v A & B [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 605, Commercial Court – extension of time to challenge ad hoc coal sale contract arbitration award – serious irregularity – fitness for purpose. 

Sovarex v Romero [2011] 2 Lloyds' Rep. 320, Commercial Court - enforcement of arbitration award relating to sale of sunflower seeds - proper procedure under s. 66 of the Arbitration Act 1996 - question of whether award debtor had participated in arbitral proceedings relating to jurisdiction - effect under Brussels Regulation of competing Spanish proceedings relating to validity of contract.

Sanhe Hope Full v Toepfer International [2008] 1 Lloyds Rep. 458, Commercial Court - sale of goods - contract for sale of Brazilian soybeans - buyers in repudiatory breach - measure of damages - appeal from FOSFA Appeal Arbitration Award - FOSFA 22 clause 27 - whether sellers sustained any loss.

Contigroup Companies Inc v Glencore AG [2005] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 241, Commercial Court - damages for delay in delivery under contract for the sale of goods - available market for liquefied petroleum gas in South- East China - reasonableness of settlement of claims by Chinese receivers.

Civil Fraud

Marex Financial Ltd v Carlos Sevilleja Garcia [2017] EWHC 918 (Comm.), Commercial Court – alleged dissipation of company assets – freezing order - limits of the tort jurisdictional gateway for service out – scope of the Lumley v Gye tort and the tort of causing loss by unlawful means – rule against reflective loss.

Emerald Bay Ltd & Ors v Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Ltd, Civil Appeal No. 7 of 2016, Gibraltar Court of Appeal – alleged fraudulent misrepesentations inducing share sales – anti-suit injunction – Article 25 of the Brussels Regulation Recast – New Jersey online gaming market.

Zabihi v Janzemini [2009] EWCA Civ 851, Court of Appeal - conversion of valuable jewellery - dishonest evidence - measure of damages - sufficiency of evidence - the rule in Armorie v Delamirie (1721) 1 Strange 505.

Newsat Holdings Ltd & Ors v Zani [2006] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 707, Commercial Court - alleged fraudulent misrepresentations relating to satellite rights - permission to serve out of the jurisdiction under CPR 6.20(8) - worldwide freezing order.

Hopkins v TL Dallas Ltd and Anor - [2005] 1 B.C.L.C. 543, Chancery Division - alleged guarantees executed by director dismissed for dishonesty - whether guarantees tainted by dishonesty - assignment of guarantees to third party by liquidator.

Abdulrazaq v Modena Sportswagen HAndels GmbH [2003] All ER (D) 298 (Feb), High Court - disputed claims over ownership of various Ferraris - order for delivery up.

Banking

Marex Financial Ltd v Carlos Sevilleja Garcia [2017] EWHC 918 (Comm.), Commercial Court – alleged dissipation of company assets – freezing order - limits of the tort jurisdictional gateway for service out – scope of the Lumley v Gye tort and the tort of causing loss by unlawful means – rule against reflective loss. 

CIMC Raffles Offshore (Singapore) Ltd and Anr v Schahin Holding SA [2013] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 575, Court of Appeal - guarantee for sums due under shipbuilding contract on delivery of drilling rigs - subsequent variation in shipbuilding contracts - whether guarantee discharged - whether subsequent variation within the "general purview" of the guarantee so that anti-discharge provisions could operate.

BNP Paribas SA v M. Zaman , Commercial Court - Claims in relation to Forex Trading and discretionary share trading - parallel proceedings in Sultanate of Oman - non-exclusive jurisdiction clause - anti-suit injunction.

Credit Agricole Indosuez v Enron Capital & Trade Resources International Corp , Commercial Court - Trade Finance Facility - effect of stay due to reorganization of Enron under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code on English proceedings.

Energy & Natural Resources

Xstrata Coal Queensland Pty Ltd v Benxi Iron & Steel (Group) International [2017] 1 All E.R. (Comm.) 299, Commercial Court – LCIA Arbitration Award relating to coal sale contract – failed enforcement - six-year extension of time under s. 79 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to correct ambiguity.

SARPD Oil International Limited v Addax Energy SA [2016] 1 CLC 336, Court of Appeal – security for costs against BVI claimant refusing to disclose financial information.

English Electric Company v Alstom UK Ltd [2016] EWCA Civ 1314, Court of Appeal – corporate liability for historical exposure of industrial manufacturing employees to asbestos.

S v A & B [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 605, Commercial Court – extension of time to challenge ad hoc coal sale contract arbitration award – serious irregularity – fitness for purpose. 

Choil Trading SA v Addax Trading SA (2009) 106 (39) L.S.G. 22, Commercial Court - Joint venture arrangement for supply of oil - individual purchases of oil - jurisdiction under Article 17 of the Lugano Convention - whether jurisdiction agreements for individual purchases applicable to joint venture arrangement.

Contigroup Companies Inc v Glencore AG [2005] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 241, Commercial Court - damages for delay in delivery under contract for the sale of goods - available market for liquefied petroleum gas in South- East China - reasonableness of settlement of claims by Chinese receivers.

Education and Career: 

A Governing Body's Exhibitioner at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, he was awarded one of the highest Firsts in his year in the University of Oxford.

He was called to the Bar in 1999, when a Harmsworth Exhibitioner of the Middle Temple.

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

  • Combar
  • CEDR
  • LCIA
  • Siarb
  • Fraud Lawyers Association (FLA)
  • LMAA (Supporting Member)
  • SCMA (Supporting Member)
  • DIFC (Registered Practitioner)
  • SICC (Registered Foreign Lawyer)
  • ICCA
  • Arbitration Ireland
  • Ciarb
  • Scottish Arbitration Centre

Quotes: 

A selection of quotes can be found below:

"He has an impressive intellectual command of difficult cases." Legal 500 2017, Shipping

"Very thorough and responsive; a go-to barrister, who provides clear responses and swift turnaround." Legal 500 2017, Commodities

"Sharp-witted, commercial and user-friendly." Chambers UK Bar 2017, Commercial Dispute Resolution

"Very responsive, very easy to interact with and someone who provides measured and thoughtful analysis." Chambers UK Bar 2017, International Arbitration

"A very likable individual and a very dedicated and excellent lawyer." Chambers UK Bar 2017, Commercial Dispute Resolution

"'top-notch' David Lewis QC is rated highly, particularly regarding the supply and sale of goods in coal and oil." Who's Who Legal 2017, International Trade & Commodities

"A really nice guy who is incredibly bright and never buckles under pressure." Chambers UK Bar 2017, Shipping & Commodities

“He "always thinks strategically about how to deploy his arguments" and his "unaggressive but very compelling" style of advocacy is of the kind which "appeals to arbitral tribunals.” Chambers Global/Asia Guide 2017, Dispute Resolution: Arbitration: the English Bar (Singapore)

"He is hard-working, clever, and very good both on paper and on his feet. He's commercially aware in terms of client's objectives." Chambers UK Bar 2016, Commercial Dispute Resolution

"Has great quality and strength in depth, and is a first port of call for arbitrators as well as counsel." Chambers Asia Pacific 2016, Singapore: Commercial: The English Bar

"Clever and conscientious, and a measured and calm advocate." Chambers Asia Pacific 2016, Singapore: Shipping: The English Bar

A true star”. Legal 500 2017, Shipping. 

"Calm and polite with an amazingly clear style of advocacy." Legal 500 UK, 2016 - Commodities

"Very dynamic and a good person to work closely with." Legal 500 UK, 2016 - International Arbitration

"it was "no surprise" when he was made QC in 2014…he has a "very accommodating manner" and "very good brain." Chambers Asia Pacific 2016, Singapore: Arbitration: The English Bar

"Those instructing him find him "a pleasure to work with," citing his "unmatched clarity of thought and ability to distil complicated issues"." "A very impressive new silk who's very good on his feet and as a cross-examiner".  Chambers Asia Pacific 2015, Singapore: Arbitration: The English Bar

"An advocate who displays effortless charm." "Very good with the clients, he's supportive and really does make you feel like he's fighting your corner." Chambers UK Bar 2015, Commercial Dispute Resolution

"David has a great response time and unmatched clarity of thought. It is always a pleasure to work with him." Chambers UK Bar 2015, International Arbitration: General Commercial and Insurance

"He is responsive, effective and clear in his analysis of problems." "He is an amazingly easy person to work with and a good strategist." Chambers UK Bar 2015, Shipping & Commodities

'Straight and super-effective, he is experienced beyond his years of call." Legal 500 2015, UK - Commodities

A superstar; very fair, very clever, and a phenomenal cross-examiner who has just become one of the youngest-ever silks.’ The Legal 500 2014, UK - Commodities

Incisive and unflappable; he will flourish as a silk.’ The Legal 500 2014, UK - Energy

Hardworking, focused and very good at communicating complex issues’ The Legal 500 2014, UK - International arbitration

'Potential instructors agree that the fact that "he has a very good grasp of the law and is very commercially attuned" constitutes another secret of his success, one observing: "It's disappointing when someone beats us to him!"' Chambers Asia-Pacific 2014, Singapore: Dispute Resolution: The English Bar

"He is one of the rising stars and destined for great things. He is very user-friendly, commercial in his approach and very bright." "Having much more senior people on the opposite side doesn't faze him." Chambers UK 2014, Shipping & Commodities

"He has always been a very strong advocate, and is a very impressive performer." Chambers UK 2014, Commercial Dispute Resolution

"David Lewis is ‘an incredible talent'" : The Legal 500 2013, Shipping.

"David Lewis is 'a charming and effortless advocate'" : Legal 500 2013, International Arbitration.

"...identified as an "excellent junior who is more than capable of holding his own" against senior opposition.": Chambers UK 2013, Commercial Dispute Resolution.

"David Lewis is ‘unflappable under pressure and a first-rate drafter and cross-examiner'." - Legal 500 2012, International Arbitration.

"...someone who is "definitely going places". He is "totally unflappable", according to those who that use him.": Chambers UK 2012, Shipping & Commodities.

"David Lewis is 'excellent - extremely knowledgeable, well organised and capable of handling any case without a leader'.": Legal 500 2011, Commodities.

"The 'fiercely intelligent' David Lewis, who has returned from Singapore, gets excellent feedback for his 'superb turnaround with work', and is 'excellent with clients'.": Legal 500 2011, International Arbitration

"David Lewis is a 'quite brilliant junior barrister with in-depth knowledge, tactical and commercial awareness, and brilliant oral and written advocacy skills'": Legal 500 2011, Shipping.

"First-class in every aspect...he is expected to go to even better things": Chambers UK 2010, Commercial Dispute Resolution.

"... considered by all to be a budding young junior who is "wise beyond his years"": Chambers UK 2010, Shipping & Commodities.

"Straightforward and sensible, David Lewis commands peer respect for his comprehensive knowledge of private international law disputes": Chambers UK 2009, Commercial Dispute Resolution.

"An impressive presence in Court, tipped by one interviewee to go all the way to the bench": Chambers UK 2009, Shipping & Commodities.

"David Lewis, "first-class in every respect", has made serious inroads into the commercial arbitration landscape, representing industry heavyweights in proceedings arising from sectors such as shipping. He has also shouldered responsibility for a number of large-scale trials": Chambers UK 2008.