David Owen is a full-time arbitrator and mediator with over 30 years of experience of arbitration, mediation and litigation.
He began in practice as a barrister in 1983. He was appointed as a Queens Counsel in 2006. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and was accredited as a mediator in 2002.
The Chambers UK Bar Guide has described him as "a figure right at the heart of the commercial dispute resolution world". He has been regularly recommended in the Chambers and Legal 500 Guides as a leading practitioner in International Arbitration, Mediation, Commercial Litigation, Shipping, Energy, Commodities, Banking/Finance, and Insurance/Reinsurance.
He deals with a wide range of disputes as an international arbitrator, and is regularly appointed as a Chairman, panel member and sole arbitrator.
In addition to numerous ad hoc appointments, he has been appointed under the rules of The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), The London Maritime Arbitrators' Association (LMAA), The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), The Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA), The Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), The Netherlands Arbitration Institute (NAI), and UNCITRAL.
Appointments have included references seated in London, Singapore, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and the BVI.
Recent appointments have included matters relating to:
- Shipping: charterparties, performance claims; demurrage; hire claims & cargo issues
- Ship Building/Conversion/Repair
- Ship Sale & Purchase
- Commodities sale contracts
- Price adjustments in international sale contracts
- Oil rigs: operation and hire
- Coal and iron trading
- Joint ventures
- Share sales and warranties
- Investment management & hedge funds
- Banking & trade finance
- Infrastructure projects and investment disputes
He is a Panel Arbitrator for The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC); The Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA); The Marine Offshore Oil and Gas Association (MOOGAS), The Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA), The Pacific International Arbitration Centre, The Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration and Financial Arbitration Centre, and The ARIAS UK Insurance and Reinsurance Society.
In addition to being a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, he is a Full Member of The London Maritime Arbitrators' Association (LMAA), and a Member of The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).
He has experience of being appointed as an expert to deal with complex legal and technical issues.
He has a good working knowledge of French.
He is in demand as a mediator over a wide spectrum of commercial disputes, many of them with an international dimension. The cases which he mediates are often legally or factually complex. He is identified in the 2016 Who's Who Legal Guide to the UK Bar as a leading figure in the world of Mediation.
His experience as an arbitrator and barrister means that he can provide robust reality testing when appropriate; however, he also has a pragmatic focus on the parties' commercial needs.
Recent mediations have included cases relating to:
- Shipping and energy eg ship sale; chartering; ship construction & performance; oil trading & contamination; oil exploration & support vessels
- Fiduciary asset management
- Derivatives eg interest rate swaps; frieght derivatives; issues under ISDA documentation; commodity swap transactions
- Cross-border mortgages and investments
- Banker/customer and wealth management disputes in the U.K and in offshore jurisdictions
- Corporate finance and private equity
- Corporate fraud
- Joint ventures
- Major infrastructure projects in the Middle East
- Complex technical disputes concerning design and supply of machinery
- Public procurement, and environmental programmes
- Pharmaceuticals: distribution and supply in England & Europe
- Product contamination
- Intellectual property/license disputes
He has been appointed to the mediator panels of The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators; The International Mediation Institute (IMI), The Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC), and The Marine Offshore Oil and Gas Association (MOOGAS).
He trains and assesses mediators in England and elsewhere. He has lectured on dispute resolution in England, Belgium, Germany and Singapore, and has taught at the Cologne Academies of Arbitration & Mediation.
He is a member of the Bar Council Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee and the Civil Mediation Council.
As a barrister, his general commercial work included:
- a wide range of arbitrations (including cases involving state trading bodies, and states);
- disputes concerning the sale of shares and businesses;
- international projects and joint venture disputes;
- arbitration and litigation concerning complex technical matters (e.g. satellite technology and the provision of mobile phone services);
- acting for successful claimants against the UK Government in the Factortame litigation;
- acting for the Government of Hong Kong in an arbitration relating to major property developments;
- professional negligence claims.
He has extensive experience of disputes in the maritime, energy, commodity and international trade sectors. As a barrister, he regularly appeared and advised in arbitrations and court cases relating to matters such as ship fixing and chartering; ship sale & purchase; shipbuilding and ship repair; bunkers; cargo claims; oil trading and contamination, and long-term commodity contracts.
In the financial/banking field, he acted for the successful party in the first English reported case on mis-selling of derivatives (Bankers Trust v Dharmala), and was subsequently instructed in numerous matters relating to banking and complex financial transactions. Financial work included cases relating to:
- derivatives & freight forward agreements;
- repo transactions;
- valuation of assets in volatile markets;
- claims between hedge funds and banks;
- rights of bondholders;
- claims between banks (eg syndicated lending);
- letters of comfort
- investment management & wealth management
In the insurance/reinsurance field, he edited a leading textbook on English insurance law (MacGillivray) for many years, and dealt with a wide variety of insurance and reinsurance claims in arbitration and litigation, (including disputes relating to political risk; expropriation & non-payment risks; product liability; reinsurance - marine, aviation and civil engineering; duties of brokers, and issues involving Lloyd's syndicates) .
Quotes from legal directories relating to his work as an arbitrator and barrister include the following:
"a polished performer who doesn't miss a trick"
"immaculate reputation for his work in commercial arbitration"
"he just thinks a little better and a little quicker on pretty much everything"
"a perfect gentleman, who is extremely measured, thorough and tough"
"adept corralling of case detail and overarching argument ensures that he is top class in large, complicated disputes"
"probably the most thoughtful and thorough barrister I've ever seen....he leaves no stone unturned.....very much on the way up, and is sure to make a great arbitrator"
"a skilled litigator, arbitrator and mediator of shipping disputes. Favoured by solicitors as he is really good to work with, and has a great response time"
"recommended for energy-related commodities arbitrations"
"a go-to barrister for the commodities sector"
"extremely thorough and analytical - he devours papers and analyses them with complete accuracy and great dedication"
"insightful and effective, with an impressive breadth of expertise"
"a details man who shows steely resolve"
"inexhaustible patience, infectious enthusiasm and charm"
"phenomenally intelligent, bright, determined and hard-working"
"astonishing legal mind and fantastic submissions"
"... ability to think outside the box"
"an incredibly tough and diligent lawyer who provides strong tactical input"
"instructing solicitors consider him a joy to work with. They are happy to turn to him time and time again, and he obtains some very fine work as a result"
Mediation feedback and directory entries include the following:
"In high demand as a mediator both in England and aborad. Recommended for his pragmatic advice and resolute focus"
"the best that I have encountered during my career of some 14 years since qualification. Since using Mr Owen as a mediator, I have recommended him to colleagues on every occasion when a recommendation has been sought"
"David Owen is a wonderful mediator. He is extremely intelligent and adept at using it to both sides' benefit in mediations. He gets results cleverly."
"David Owen QC has a broad mediation practice, with a particular focus on cases with an international element. His areas of expertise include shipping, trade, finance and general commercial disputes. Sources note his attention to detail and commercial mindset."
"a measured and persuasive mediator who sources say is both an excellent lawyer and highly tactful. Solicitors favour him in a range of shipping, insurance, energy and international trade disputes."
"He came to the mediation incredibly well-prepared, and he quickly grasped the issues presented. He also appreciated and dealt effectively with the significant emotional aspects of the case. He did some very effective reality testing without threatening the trust developed with the parties. David has all the qualities of a successful mediator. He is smart, patient, kind, attentive and thoughtful. He is both a good communicator and a sensitive listener."
"David was particularly good at reality testing in relation to litigation risk in a way which was non-confrontational and allowed the parties to move from stated positions."
"immensely hard-working and very user-friendly."
"Did a brilliant job on the day by keeping focus on quantum, which kept the parties talking even when we appeared poles apart".
"David's approach to a difficult dynamic within the mediation was both flexible and first-class. He recognised the drivers for the key individuals, and was able to facilitate a successful resolution as a result"
"Conscientious and hard-working mediator...I was impressed by his ability and skill to bring two very reluctant parties to the negotiating table and eventually persuade them to resolve their differences"
"Exemplary mediator...approachable, direct and thoughtful."