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Rupert Hamilton

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Clerks' direct contact:
+44 (0)20 7842 1200
Clerks [at] 20essexst [dot] com

Rupert enjoys a varied practice covering all aspects of commercial law. He has experience across a broad range of Chambers’ areas of expertise, including shipping and international trade, insurance, private international law, arbitration, civil fraud and insolvency. 

He is regularly instructed to advise and to represent parties both in litigation and in arbitration proceedings.  While Rupert is frequently led by silks and senior juniors (including Stephen Atherton QC, Michael Ashcroft QC, David Lewis QC and Blair Leahy), he is often instructed on his own and has appeared unled both in the Commercial Court and in the Court of Appeal.

Notable cases include:

Frontier Agriculture Limited v Bratt Brothers [2015] EWCA Civ 611: a case concerning an application to enforce an arbitration award under section 66 of the Arbitration Act (unled).

The "St Efrem" [2014] EWHC 163 (Comm): acting for the successful claimant in a dispute dealing with the meaning and effect of a "follow clause" in an insurance policy (with Michael Ashcroft QC).

Al Nasr Co for Coke & Chemicals v Fairdeal Supplies [2013] EWHC 3131 (Comm): successfully resisting a section 69 appeal from an arbitration award in a commodities dispute (unled).

Yilport Konteyner Terminali v Buxcliff [2012] EWHC 3289 (Comm): appeared for the successful claimant in a claim for port charges for discharging cargo from a holed vessel (with David Lewis QC).

Primerose Shipping v Seoul Guarantee Insurance Company (20 July 2012, unreported): a successful application to set aside a default judgment for over US$6m in a claim concerning a refund guarantee on a shipbuilding contract (with Michael Ashcroft QC).

The "Astra" [2013] EWHC 865 (Comm): an important case on the question of whether prompt payment of hire is a condition (assisting Josephine Davies)

Examples of other current and recent instructions include:

  • Directors' duties - Rupert has been instructed on a number of cases involving allegations of breaches of directors' duties, including a £250 million claim against fraudulent directors of an investment fund, and related claims against non-executive directors and accountants.
  • Unfair prejudice - Rupert is acting for the respondents to an unfair prejudice petition brought by their former business associate.
  • Private international law - many of the cases on which Rupert is instructed involve parties based outside of the UK, and he regularly advises on issues relating to jurisdiction and applicable law in the context of international disputes.
  • Arbitration claims - in addition to acting for clients in arbitrations, Rupert is regularly instructed on matters involving applications to the Commercial Court in relation to arbitration proceedings, including challenges to awards under sections 67 to 69 of the Arbitration Act and enforcement proceedings under section 66 of the Act.
  • Shipping - Rupert is instructed on a diverse range of disputes, acting both for charterers and for owners, including a complex $60 million claim involving an attempt to switch the identity of vessels, claims for misdescription of vessels, and a collision case.
  • Commodities - Rupert has acted for clients in several LCIA arbitration claims for non-delivery and delivery of off-specification goods, with several raising complex issues in relation to damages.
  • Cargo claims - Rupert has experience of acting both for and against cargo interests in Commercial Court and arbitration proceedings, on cases involving issues such as short delivery and damage to cargo.
  • Insolvency - a growing part of Rupert's practice comprises matters which raise insolvency law issues, both in the local and international context, and he has experience of obtaining recognition of foreign insolvency proceedings.
  • Mediation - Rupert has experience of attending mediations, and of assisting with preparation for mediations.

Rupert particularly enjoys cases which involve technical or scientific issues, and his degree in Physics and Philosophy makes him particularly well-suited to dealing with such cases. 

Before coming to the Bar, Rupert spent three years working as an investment banker in London, where he was involved in advising a wide range of clients on issues relating to strategy and financing. He is adept at dealing with cases which raise difficult financial or accounting issues, or which involve complex damages calculations.

Rupert joined 20 Essex Street in April 2012 on completion of his pupillage.


  • General commercial
  • Shipping
  • Arbitration
  • International Trade and Commodities
  • Insurance and Reinsurance
  • Banking
  • Civil Fraud
  • Private International Law

Education and Career: 

Corpus Christi College, Oxford: BA (Physics and Philosophy), First Class (2005)
City University: GDL, Distinction (2009)
BPP, London: BVC, Outstanding (2010)
Scholar of Corpus Christi College (2003)
Queen Mother Scholarship, Middle Temple (2009)
Harmsworth Entrance Exhibition, Middle Temple (2009)
Certificate of Honour, Middle Temple (2010)