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Sara Masters QC

Sara specialises in all areas of commercial law. She has a particular interest in jurisdictional disputes, including jurisdictional issues arising in arbitration. She also has extensive experience in insurance and reinsurance, sale of goods, shipping (including ship-building and ship sale disputes) and commodities, aviation (contractual rather than technical/navigational disputes), construction, energy and European Union law.

She has appeared in the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the House of Lords, and the Privy Council and before the European Court of Justice. She also appears frequently before arbitrators in a broad range of disputes both in the UK and abroad.

She accepts appointments as an arbitrator both in international trade and shipping matters and in commercial disputes more generally, and is also a CEDR accredited mediator. She is appointed to the SCMA (Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration) panel of arbitrators and is also registered as a practitioner with rights of audience before the DIFC Courts.

Sara is recommended as a leading "new silk" in the fields of Commercial Litigation, Commodities, International Arbitration, and Shipping by The Legal 500 2012, and by Chambers and Partners (2013) in the Shipping & Commodities category where she is described as a "clear favourite with instructing solicitors who appreciate her provision of first-rate, clear and effective advice without fuss". Prior to taking silk she was listed as a Leading Junior for Shipping and Commodities in Chambers and Partners (UK Guide 2012) where she is described as "persuasive and possessed of a great ability for presentation", she was also recommended in the Legal 500 (2011) for Commercial Litigation, Commodities and International Arbitration. She was named by The Lawyer magazine as one of the "Hot 100" for 2009.

She was instructed for the insurers in "The Front Comor" (West Tankers v Allianz SpA), an important case before the ECJ on the compatibility with EU law of anti-suit injunctions to enforce arbitration clauses, in which the ECJ ruled that an anti-suit injunction granted restraining the Insurers from proceeding before the Italian Courts was incompatible with EU law. The case has subsequently been before the Commercial Court on two occasions and before the Court of Appeal.

Sara lectures frequently, particularly on arbitration, jurisdiction and conflicts of law. She is the European editor of The White Book (English civil procedure rules) and also edits the sections dealing with service out of the jurisdiction, jurisdictional challenges, and depositions and evidence for foreign courts.

Current work of particular topical interest includes advising upon the impact of UN and EU sanctions in the commodities, shipping, banking and financial services sector. Sara also lectures on this subject and has been appointed as arbitrator to determine disputes arising as to the effect of the EU sanctions regime.

Sara sits on the Executive Committee of COMBAR and is Vice-Chairman of the North American Committee. She also sits on the Bar Council's Legal Services Committee.

Specialisations: 

  • Jurisdiction and the Brussels Regulation
  • Private International law
  • Arbitration
  • Shipping (including ship-building and ship sale disputes) and Commodities
  • Aviation
  • Sale of Goods
  • Insurance and Reinsurance
  • Construction
  • Energy
  • EU law

Principal Cases: 

English courts

United Arab Shipping Co v Kuwait Insurance Company [2012 Folio 1681] (Comm Court) - Anti-suit injunction - b/l dispute - impact of mandatory rules of foreign forum.

Amanda Ackerley and Others v Alpha Panareti and Others (Comm Court) - Multi-party dispute arising out of purchase of property in Cyprus - professional negligence claim against Cypriot solicitors - Jurisdiction of English Court.

Swiss Re International v SAP AG (2012 Folio No 1096) - (Comm Court) - Anti-suit injunction - insurance coverage dispute - US Court's attitude towards enforcement of arbitration clause.

West-Tankers Inc v Allianz SpA [2012] EWHC (Comm); [2012] 2 Lloyd's Rep 103 - Damages for breach of arbitration agreement - Compatibility with EU law.

Broda Agro Trade (Cyprus) Ltd v Alfred C Toepfer International GmbH [2010] 1 Lloyd's Rep 533; [2011] 1 Lloyd's Rep 243 - Arbitration - Section 72 of the Arbitration Act, 1996 - Right to fair and public hearing - Article 6 - ECHR.

West Tankers Inc v Allianz SpA - Judgment 6 April 2011 [2011] EWHC 829 (Comm) - Section 66 of the Arbitration Act - Declaratory judgments - Enforcement.

Aercap Ireland v VASP (2006 Folio 700) (Comm Court) - Default under aircraft leasing agreements and associated financing.

Louis Dreyfus Commodities Kenya Ltd v Bolster Shipping Co Ltd - [2011] 1 Lloyd's Rep 455 - Arbitration - Anti-suit injunctions.

In Re Haji-Ioannou (Deceased) [2009] EWHC 2310 (QB); [2010], All ER (Comm) 303 - Law applicable to intestate succession - Registration of judgment under the Brussels Regulation.

West Tankers Inc v Ras Riunione Adriatica di Sicurta "The Front Comor" [2008] 2 Lloyd's Rep 661 (ECJ AG Opinion), [2007] 1 Lloyd's Rep 391 (HL) - Arbitration - Anti-suit injunctions - Law applicable to subrogated claim - Law applicable to arbitration clauses.

Byzak Limited v Europea de Hincas Teledirigiadas, TCC (Judgment 14 June 2005) - Jurisdiction - Article 5(1) of Brussels Regulation.

Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation v SNC Passion [2004] 2 Lloyd's Rep 99 - Rome Convention - Law applicable to loan agreement.

Knauf UK GmbH v British Gypsum Ltd [2001] 1 Lloyd's Rep 199; [2002] 1 WLR 907 (CA) - Technical dispute over quality of plasterboard - Jurisdiction - Brussels Convention.

HIH Casualty and General Insurance Company Ltd v New Hampshire Insurance Company Ltd and Others [2001] 1 Lloyd's Rep 367; [2001] 2 Lloyd-s Rep 161 - Reinsurance - Film finance.

National Bank of Greece SA v Outhwaite Syndicate 317 at Lloyds [2001] Lloyd's Rep IR 652 - Insurance (marine) - Service of proceedings.

Ace Insurance SA-NC v Zurich Insurance Company [2000] 2 Lloyd's Rep 423; [2001] 1 Lloyd's Rep 618 (CA) - Jurisdiction - Reinsurance - Lugano Convention.

Brownsville Holdings Ltd v Adamjee Insurance Co Ltd [2000] 2 Lloyd's Rep 423 - Insurance (Marine) - Total loss - Insured Peril.

Nordstern Allgemeine Versicherungs AG v Internav Ltd [1999] 2 Lloyd's Rep 139 - Procedure - Costs order against non-party.

Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich Aktiengesellschaft v National Bank of Greece [1999] 1 Lloyd's Rep 408 - Jurisdiction - Brussels Convention - Articles 5(1) and 5(3).

Shell International Petroleum Co v Coral Oil Ltd [1999] 1 Lloyd's Rep 72 - Arbitration - Anti-suit injunctions - Construction of arbitration clauses. The Nour [1999] 1 Lloyd's Rep 1 - Liability under charterparty for self-heating cargo - Causation.

Zeluga Polkska SA v TR Shipping Limited (No 2) [1998] 2 Lloyd's Rep 341 - Norwegian Sale Form - Sale of Ship - Notice of Readiness.

Akai Pty Ltd v The People's Insurance Co Ltd [1998] 1 Lloyd's Rep 90 - Insurance (Credit) - Anti-suit injunctions.

Philip Alexander Securities and Futures Ltd v Bamberger [1996] CLC 1757; [1997] ILPR 73 - Arbitration - EU law - Anti-suit injunctions.

Jurisdiction and the Brussels Regulation

Louis Dreyfus Commodities Kenya Ltd v Bolster Shipping Co Ltd, supra.

In Re Haji-Ioannou (Deceased), supra.

Midgulf International Ltd v Groupe Chimiche Tunisien Queen's Bench Division [2009] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 411 - Arbitration - Anti-suit injunctions

West Tankers Inc v Ras Riunione Adriatica di Sicurta "The Front Comor" [2009] 1 Lloyd's Rep 413 - Arbitration - Anti-suit injunctions - Law applicable to subrogated claim - Law applicable to arbitration clauses.

Byzak Limited v Europea de Hincas Teledirigiadas, TCC (judgment 14 June 2005) - Jurisdiction - Article 5(1) of Brussels Regulation.

Knauf UK GmbH v British Gypsum Ltd [2001] 1 Lloyd's Rep 199; [2002] 1 WLR 907 (CA) - Technical dispute over quality of plasterboard - Jurisdiction - Brussels Convention.

Ace Insurance SA-NC v Zurich Insurance Company [2000] 2 Lloyd's Rep 423; [2001] 1 Lloyd's Rep 618 (CA) - Jurisdiction - Reinsurance - Lugano Convention.

Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich Aktiengesellschaft v National Bank of Greece [1999] 1 Lloyd's Rep 408 - Jurisdiction - Brussels Convention - Articles 5(1) and 5(3).

Shell International Petroleum Co v Coral Oil Ltd [1999] 1 Lloyd's Rep 72 - Arbitration - Anti-suit injunctions - Construction of arbitration clauses.

Akai Pty Ltd v The People's Insurance Co Ltd [1998] 1 Lloyd's Rep 90 - Insurance (Credit) - Anti-suit injunctions.

Philip Alexander Securities and Futures Ltd v Bamberger [1996] CLC 1757; [1997] ILPR 73 - Arbitration - EU law - Anti-suit injunctions.

Akai Pty Ltd v The People's Insurance Co Ltd [1998] 1 Lloyd's Rep 90 - Insurance (Credit) - Anti-suit injunctions.

Philip Alexander Securities and Futures Ltd v Bamberger [1996] CLC 1757; [1997] ILPR 73 - Arbitration - EU law - Anti-suit injunctions.

Private International Law

In Re Haji-Ioannou (Deceased), supra

Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation v SNC Passion [2004] 2 Lloyd's Rep 99 - Rome Convention - Law applicable to loan agreement.

Akai Pty Ltd v The People's Insurance Co Ltd [1998] 1 Lloyd's Rep 90 - Insurance (Credit) - Anti-suit injunctions.

Arbitration

Broda Agro Trade (Cyprus) Ltd v Alfred C Toepfer International GmbH, supra.

Louis Dreyfus Commodities Kenya Ltd v Bolster Shipping Co Ltd, supra.

Midgulf International Ltd v Groupe Chimiche Tunisien [2009] 1 C.L.C. 1000 - Arbitration Clauses - Sale of Goods

West Tankers, supra

Socadec SA v Pan Afric Impex Co Ltd, [2003] EWHC 2086 (QB).

Shell International Petroleum Co v Coral Oil Ltd, supra

Insurance & Reinsurance

HIH Casualty and General Insurance Company Ltd v New Hampshire Insurance Company Ltd and Others [2001] 1 Lloyd's Rep 367; [2001] 2 Lloyd's Rep 161 - Reinsurance - Film finance.

National Bank of Greece SA v Outhwaite Syndicate 317 at Lloyds [2001] Lloyd's Rep IR 652 - Insurance (marine) - Service of proceedings.

Brownsville Holdings Ltd v Adamjee Insurance Co Ltd [2000] 2 Lloyd's Rep 423 - Insurance (Marine) - Total loss - Insured Peril.

Shipping & Commodities

Midgulf International Ltd v Groupe Chimiche Tunisien [2009] 1 C.L.C. 1000 - Supra

Nordstern Allgemeine Versicherungs AG v Internav Ltd [1999] 2 Lloyd's Rep 139 - Procedure - Costs order against non-party.

The Nour [1999] 1 Lloyd's Rep 1 - Liability under charterparty for self-heating cargo - Causation.

Zeluga Polkska SA v TR Shipping Limited (No 2) [1998] 2 Lloyd's Rep 341 - Norwegian Sale Form - Sale of Ship - Notice of Readiness.

Aviation

Aercap Ireland v VASP (2006 Folio 700) (Comm Court) - Default under aircraft leasing agreements and associated financing.

EU Law

McCall v MIB [2010] - uninsured drivers - interpretation of EU law.

C-297/99 Skills Motor Coaches and Others, [2001] January 2001 ECR 1-573 - social legislation relating to road transport - use of tachograph.

C - 218/98 Abdoulaye - Judgment of the Court of Justice of 16 September 1999 - social policy - equal treatment - equal pay - maternity leave.

Vehicle Inspectorate v Southern Coaches Ltd [1999] All ER (D) 1440 - social legislation relating to road transport - use of tachograph.

C - 47/97 Clark & Sons (Coaches) v Ferne - [1998] ECR I- 2147 - Social legislation relating to road transport - compulsory use of tachograph.

C1/96 R v MAFF ex parte RSPCA and C/WF Ltd [1998] All ER (EC) 302 - Articles 30 and 36 ECTreaty - extra territorial application of Article 36 - objective justification.

C - 387/96 Sjöberg - [1998] ECR I-1225 - Social legislation relating to road transport - exceptions to compulsory use of a tachograph.

Education and Career: 

Trinity College, Cambridge (MA)

Universite Libre de Bruxelles, licence speciale en droit europeen (Grande distinction)

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

  • CEDR accredited mediator
  • COMBAR(executive committee member)
  • LMAA
  • LCLCLBA
  • LCIA European Users' Council
  • SCMA panel member
  • Bar Council's Legal Services Committee member

Lectures and Teaching: 

Lectures frequently on arbitration, jurisdiction and conflicts of law issues of topical interest.

Quotes: 

"Sara Masters QC is a clear favourite with instructing solicitors, who appreciate her provision of "first-rate, clear and efficient advice without fuss"." Chambers UK 2013

"Sara Masters QC is ‘a true specialist in her field; there is little which escapes her attention'. Her recent elevation to QC ‘was long overdue'." Legal 500 2012

"The recently appointed Sara Masters QC has ‘compendious knowledge of EU law'." Legal 500 2012

"She has really quite exceptional brainpower." - Chambers UK 2012

Recommended by Legal 500 2011 as 'Leading junior' in Commercial Litigation, Commodities and International Arbitration.

"Sara Masters, whose work spans the whole range of shipping and commodities disputes. Solicitors find her 'persuasive and possessed of a great ability for presentation'."  - Chambers UK 2011

"Sara Masters 'takes good points'..." - Legal 500 2010  

"'Solid and commercial juniors' Sara Masters ... [is] also recommended." - Legal 500 2010

"Equally well liked, Sara Masters is extremely well regarded for her expertise in jurisdictional and anti-suit injunction matters. 'Always up for the fight', she was recently involved in the high-profile 'Front Comor' case" - Chambers and Partners UK Guide 2010

"Quick and enthusiastic" - Chambers and Partners UK Guide 2009

"Very tactically aware and practical in her approach". "Clear, efficient and responsive, which translates in 'taking good points' in argument." - Legal 500 2009