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Sara Masters QC

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

Sara specialises in all areas of commercial law. She has a particular interest in jurisdictional disputes, including jurisdictional issues in arbitration and in private international law and conflicts of law. She also has extensive experience in insurance and reinsurance, sale of goods, shipping (including ship-building and ship sale disputes) and commodities, aviation, construction, energy and European Union law, particularly competition law.

She has appeared in the High Court, the CAT, the Court of Appeal, the House of Lords, and the Privy Council and before the European Court of Justice and the DIFC Courts. Sara is registered to appear before the Singapore International Commercial Court. 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 the UK and abroad and has a wide experience both of institutional and ad hoc arbitrations, and is also a CEDR accredited mediator. She is appointed to the SCMA (Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration) panel of arbitrators and is also a member of the CIETAC panel.

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.

Sara lectures frequently, particularly on arbitration, jurisdiction and conflicts of law and sanctions. 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 cases involving the impact of UN and EU sanctions in the commodities, shipping, banking and financial services sector; instructions in "follow on" competition damages claims before the Chancery Division and the CAT; a series of anti-suit injunctions in the IT sector; and a long running and substantial dispute involving the construction of one of the largest super-yachts in the world.

 

Specialisations: 

  • Arbitration
  • EU law / Competition law
  • Private International law
  • Sale of Goods
  • Shipping (including ship-building and ship sale disputes) and Commodities

 

Principal Cases: 

Arbitration - as arbitrator

Co-arbitrator in LCIA arbitration between offshore companies and Russian individual arising out of shareholders’ agreement.

Chair in LMAA arbitration concerning claim for freight and demurrage under various voyage charters. Raised Iranian sanctions issues.

Chair in an LMAA arbitration concerning very substantial claim for repudiatory breach of long term time charter.

Sole Arbitrator in LCIA arbitration concerning dispute over publishing royalties.

Sole Arbitrator in LCIA arbitration concerning dispute under commodities sales contract.

Co-Arbitrator in LCIA arbitration concerning claim under an oil trading consultancy agreement.

Chair in LMAA arbitration concerning very substantial dispute over construction of super-yacht.

Chair in ad hoc arbitration concerning ship-building dispute.

Co-arbitrator in LCIA arbitration concerning dispute under consultancy agreement involving Polish interests.

Sole Arbitrator in an LCIA arbitration concerning a claim under loan agreement and associated security documents involving Russian interests.

Chair in LCIA arbitration concerning a claim for sales demurrage under commodities sale contract.

Co-arbitrator in LMAA charterparty dispute reference concerning explosion at discharge port.

Sole arbitrator in an LCIA arbitration concerning a dispute involving Russian and Italian interests under shareholders agreement.

Co-arbitrator in two concurrent LMAA charterparty references concerning damage to vessel occurring during STS transfer.

Co-arbitrator in LCIA arbitration concerning claims under loan agreement and associated security documents.

Sole arbitrator in UNCITRAL arbitration concerning claim under guarantee arising out of oil field project management agreement.

Chair in LMAA arbitration concerning alleged repudiatory breach of long term bare boat charter.

Co-arbitrator in LCIA arbitration concerning claims under finance documents.

Party appointed arbitrator in ad hoc shipping reference concerning damage to vessel and other charterparty claims.

Party appointed arbitrator in ad hoc shipping reference concerning charterparty claims.

Chair in LCIA arbitration concerning claim under loan agreement and associated financing documents.

Sole Arbitrator in SIAC arbitration concerning claim under commodities contract.

Co-arbitrator in LMAA arbitration concerning claim for short-delivery.

Co-arbitrator in LMAA charterparty reference.

Co-arbitrator in LCIA reference concerning claim under commodities contract.

Sole arbitrator in LCIA reference concerning claim under Settlement Agreement.

Sole Arbitrator in LCIA reference concerning employment law dispute arising out of Share Purchase Agreement.

Arbitration - as counsel

Recent cases examples include:

X v Y Z [2015] EWHC 395 (Comm) - Challenge to arbitration award - Supply Contract - Iranian Law-Preliminary Issues.

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.

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

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.

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.

English Courts

Examples of recent cases include:

Maersk Tangier [2018] EWCA Civ 778 - Acting on behalf of Maersk in respect of claims against them for damage to a cargo of frozen bluefin tuna loins. The case is the key Court of Appeal authority in respect of the compulsory applicability of the Hague-Visby Rules where seaway bills are issued, marking a significant legal development since the well known decision of the House of Lords in The Rafaela S, and also in respect of the package or unit limitation in the context of containerisation under both the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules. 

Dell Emerging Markets (EMEA) Ltd & Ors v Systems Equipment Telecommunications Services SAL [2018] EWHC 702 (Comm) (19 April 2018) - Anti-suit injunction and substantive claim in relation to an information technology distribution agreement. The distributor, SETS, prevented other partners from selling Dell products in the Lebanon. Dell says this is a breach of the distributorship agreement and purported to terminate the agreement. The distributor commenced proceedings in Lebanon against a range of Dell entities in various countries. 

Dell Emerging Markets Limited v IB Maroc Com SA - Claim for an anti-suit to restrain proceedings brought in Morocco in breach of an exclusive jurisdiction clause and a claim for unpaid invoices.

X v Y Z [2015] EWHC 395 (Comm) - Challenge to arbitration award - Supply Contract - Iranian Law-Preliminary Issues.

Petter v EMC [2015] EWCA 828 - Employment - Section 5 of Brussels I ( Recast) regulation - Anti - Suit Injunction.

DB Schenker Rail (UK) Ltd & Ors v Schunk GMBJ & Ors (CAT) [2014] Cat 2 - Follow on damages claim.

Emerald Supplies Ltd & Ors v British Airways plc (HC0802468) - Follow on damages claim - Air Cargo.

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.

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.

EU Law / Competition Law

Examples of casework in the field include:

Petter v EMC [2015] EWCA 828 - Employment - Section 5 of Brussels I ( Recast) regulation - Anti-suit Injunction.

DB Schenker Rail (UK) Ltd & Ors v Schunk GMBJ & Ors (CAT) [2014] Cat 2.

Emerald Supplies Ltd & Ors v British Airways plc (HC0802468).

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

Private International Law

Examples of case work include:

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.

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.

Shipping & Commodities

Some recent case exmaples include:

Maersk Tangier [2018] EWCA Civ 778 - Acting on behalf of Maersk in respect of claims against them for damage to a cargo of frozen bluefin tuna loins. The case is the key Court of Appeal authority in respect of the compulsory applicability of the Hague-Visby Rules where seaway bills are issued, marking a significant legal development since the well known decision of the House of Lords in The Rafaela S, and also in respect of the package or unit limitation in the context of containerisation under both the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules. 

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.

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.

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

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
  • LMAA
  • LCLCLBA
  • LCIA European Users' Council
  • SCMA panel member
  • CIETAC Panel Member
  • MOOGAS International Arbitrator and Mediator Panel Member
  • Member of ArbitralWomen
  • Registered to appear before the Singapore International Commercial Court

Lectures and Teaching: 

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

Quotes: 

Recent coverage in legal directories includes:

"Very good with complex, technical issues." Chambers Global & UK Bar 2018 

"A strong leader, who can direct cases very well." Legal 500 2017

"First-rate." Legal 500 2017

"She's clearly very clever and she understands what needs to be done for the client. I find her approachable and user-friendly with a good sense of humour." Chambers UK Bar 2017 

"She is very good on her feet and has a real command of the subject matter." Chambers UK 2016

"Brilliant - an academic heaven and sensible adviser, who empathises with clients." Legal 500 2016

"Very approachable, effective and responsive." Legal 500 2015