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Charlotte Tan

Charlotte has a broad commercial practice, with particular focus on civil fraud, insurance, international trade and finance, and private international law. She is regularly instructed in matters in the High Court and the Court of Appeal as well as international arbitrations under different rules (LCIA, ICC, LMAA, GAFTA and FOSFA). She has substantial experience of applications for interim relief (freezing orders, in particular).

She is recommended by the Directories for Commercial Dispute Resolution and Shipping and Commodities. In 2014, Charlotte was selected in Legal Week's "Stars at the Bar" as one of 10 "up-and-coming commercial and Chancery barristers recognised for their exceptional abilities", where she was described as a junior who is "unflappable and always manages to maintain a calm, clear head and a sense of perspective", "highly sought after" and a "real star".

Recent quotes from the directories include:

"A hard-working commercial junior." (C&P 2018, Commercial Dispute Resolution)

"She's very thorough and hard-working, and she understands the business issues, not just the legal aspects of the case." (C&P 2018, Commercial Dispute Resolution)

"She is outstanding. She's user-friendly and she works as part of a team." (C&P 2018, Shipping)

"Excellent." (Legal 500 2017, Shipping)

"A highly regarded junior who is trusted by top silks to handle big-ticket matters. She has experience of acting in huge fraud, insurance and shipping cases, and is viewed as someone who punches well above her level of call." (C&P 2017, Commercial Dispute Resolution)

"She produces high-quality paperwork that is seriously well reasoned and beautifully put together." "She is the best junior that I have worked with due to the quality of her advice, her commercial approach and her responsiveness." (C&P 2017, Commercial Dispute Resolution)

"An 'extremely bright and charming' junior." "She is a really effective and hard-working junior. 'Getting involved' is an understatement, I felt she had become part of our team." (C&P 2017, Shipping and Commodities)

"I have seen her at a hearing outmatch an opposing QC with ease and elegance. She is proactive and often comes up with smart ideas for arguing a case which are not immediately obvious but which stand up on analysis." (C&P 2017, Shipping and Commodities)

An "up-and-coming commercial junior with a growing reputation among instructing solicitors." (C&P 2016, Commercial Dispute Resolution).

A "rising star of the commercial Bar". "She is very user-friendly, hard-working and has a nice touch." (C&P 2016, Insurance)

Recommended "given the strength of her flourishing commercial practice"; "she is phenomenally intelligent and hard-working and has a maturity and knowledge beyond her call" (C&P 2015, Insurance)

Charlotte's commercial litigation experience includes:

- Deutsche Bank AG v Sebastian Holdings Inc and Alexander Vik, acting across the litigation for Mr Vik, including in relation to committal proceedings against Mr Vik (raising questions as to the jurisdiction of the English courts to commit overseas former officers: [2017] 1 W.L.R. 1842 and [2017] 1 W.L.R. 3056 (Teare J); [2018] EWCA Civ 2011 (CA); application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court pending), non-party costs proceedings arising out of the largest non-party costs order made by the English courts ([2017] 6 Costs L.R. 1003 (HHJ Waksman)) and an application to the European Court of Human Rights (claiming a violation of Article 6 rights) (with Duncan Matthews QC).  

- Vincent Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton & ors in a conspiracy/malicious prosecution claim seeking in excess of USD2bn against Grant Thornton and others for allegedly instigating and manipulating an unjustified major SFO investigation into Mr Tchenguiz, causing very significant business losses (with, amongst others, Christopher Hancock QC). Charlotte acted for Mr Tchenguiz across the litigation and, in particular, in relation to strike out proceedings ([2016] EWHC 3727 (Comm)) and appeal proceedings concerning the application of the EU insolvency regulation ([2018] Q.B. 695 (CA)).

- Ronelp & ors v STX Offshore and Shipbuilding a c. USD100m shipbuilding dispute, relating to Commercial Court claims brought against the Defendant for failing to construct five hulls following the yard’s collapse, raising issues of illegality and the exclusion of remedies under the standard SAJ Shipbuilding form (led by Michael Coburn QC).  Charlotte also appeared (with Stephen Atherton QC) in the Companies Court in a successful application to lift a stay of the Commercial Court action imposed under the Cross-Border Insolvency Regulations following the Defendant entering into Korean insolvency proceedings: [2016] EWHC 2228 (Ch). 

- Asia Islamic Trade Finance Fund Ltd v Drum Risk Management Ltd & Ors, a substantial action in the High Court, concerning claims arising out of the misappropriation of significant quantities of coal from storage facilities in Turkey, held as a finance fund's collateral for sums advanced under a Sharia compliant Murabaha Financing Agreement (led by Lawrence Akka QC). The case raises issues regarding pledge interests, claims under collateral management agreements, bailment, conspiracy and other torts and has involved applications for committal for contempt of court by reason of the Defendants' failure to provide disclosure of assets pursuant to a freezing order (reported in part at [2015] EWHC 3748 (Comm)).  

- The BTA Bank v Ablyazov litigation, a multi-billion dollar set of claims brought by a Kazakh bank against its former owner and chairman. Charlotte was instructed by Mr Ablyazoy and she assisted across the litigation including on issues of contempt that were heard in the CA. In particular, Charlotte appeared with Duncan Matthews QC in the High Court and the Court of Appeal on the aspect of the case regarding whether and in what circumstances a freezing injunction respondent is entitled to borrow money within the regime of the freezing order ([2014] 1 W.L.R. 1414).

- Parbulk II AS v PT Humpuss Intermoda Transportasi TBK ("Mahakam") [2012] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 513, applying for and obtaining worldwide freezing injunctions against defendants and a domestic freezing injunction against a non-party, raising issues on the extent of the Chabra jurisdiction and piercing the corporate veil (led by Duncan Matthews QC)

- Wealcan Enterprises Inc v Banque Algerienne du Commerce Exterieur SA [2012] EWHC 4151 (Comm), a claim under a guarantee provided pursuant to an order for security for costs (acting as sole counsel)

- Emeraldian Limited Partnership v Wellmix Shipping Company Limited ("the Vine") [2011] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 301, a demurrage/safe berth dispute and associated guarantee claim, which involved a number of conflict of laws issues and the application of Chinese law (led by Michael Coburn QC).

- High Court insurance claims involving cargo damage/theft (claims up to USD30m). Acting for insurance brokers in disputes with assured (defending against claims for professional negligence) (led by Michael Ashcroft QC).

- Acting for agents in a USD150m Commercial Court dispute with Thai Airways arising out of delay and non-delivery of aircraft seats (led by Michael Ashcroft QC). 

- Applications to obtain injunctive relief, including anti-suit injunctions, freezing injunctions and interim prohibitory injunctions (both led and/or acting as sole counsel).

Charlotte's experience in international arbitration matters includes:

- Acting (led by Laurence Rabinowitz QC, and Charles Kimmins QC) for the defendant in Commercial Court proceedings resisting the enforcement of a USD1.2bn LCIA award.

- Acting (led by Michael Ashcroft QC) for a bank in an ICC dispute with beneficiaries under USD55m demand bonds issued in relation to a construction project in the Middle East.

- Acting for Charterers in The Yangtze Xing Hua [2017] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 212 (Teare J); [2017] EWCA Civ 2107 (CA) on the operation of the apportionment regime in the NYPE Inter-Club Agreement.

- Acting (led by Christopher Hancock QC) for the Club against the Kingdom of Spain and the French State in relation to oil pollution claims arising from one of the worst spills in recent years (total quantum up to €4.5bn). The case has involved s 18 applications, s 66 applications and ss 67 and 72 applications raising, inter alia, conflicts of law issues (including consideration of the Through Transport cases), sovereign immunity, arbitrability, the Judgments Regulation and discretion under s.66: The London Steam Ship Owners Mutual Insurance Association Ltd v The Kingdom of Spain ("the M/T PRESTIGE") [2014] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 300; [2014] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 137 and The London Steam Ship Owners Mutual Insurance Association Ltd v The Kingdom of Spain and the French State [2013] 2 C.L.C. 562 (High Court) and [2015] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 33 (Court of Appeal).

- Acting for a major trading house in relation to a c. USD110m dispute with its joint venture partner.  The case concerns, amongst other things, serious allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation/material non-disclosure prior to the formation of the JV and selling goods to related companies at an undervalue (in breach of tax legislation and international standards governing transfer pricing).

- A section 69 appeal on the true construction of the NSF 1993 form, concerning whether buyers of a second hand ship who have failed to pay a deposit are liable to pay the same as debt or damages following termination of the MOA: Griffon Shipping LLC v Firodi Limited [2013] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 246; [2013] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 50 (Teare J; instructed as sole counsel); [2014] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 471 (CA; led by Michael Coburn QC).

- Acting in court proceedings ancillary to a GAFTA arbitration where the Commercial Court clarified the operation of the appeal time limits under the GAFTA 125 Arbitration Rules: PEC Limited v Asia Golden Rice Co Ltd [2013] 1 Lloyds Rep. 82 (led by Michael Collett QC). Also appearing with Michael Collett QC in the s.67 challenge in the same matter (raising issues of agency and contract formation): PEC Limited v Asia Golden Rice Co Ltd [2014] EWHC 1583 (Comm).

- Claims relating to piracy, including the trial of preliminary issues on the Conwartime clause and drafting papers for and appearing in back to back s.69 appeals: Taokas Navigation SA v Komrowski Bulk Shipping KG (GmbH & Co) & Ors (The Paiwan Wisdom) [2012] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 416 (instructed as sole counsel).

- Acting in Soufflet Negoce v Bunge SA [2011] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 531 in the Court of Appeal on a point of law arising out of the GAFTA standard form (led by David Owen QC).

- Being led in LMAA/LCIA arbitrations involving a wide range of shipping and commodities issues including dangerous goods (led by Charles Kimmins QC), safe ports (led by Simon Rainey QC and Michael Coburn QC), sulphur corrosion damage to a vessel (led by David Goldstone QC), fire damage (led by Michael Coburn QC), seaworthiness and SIRE inspections (led by Andrew Baker QC), shipbuilding disputes (led by Michael Ashcroft QC), ship sale disputes (led by Philip Edey QC), zinc smelting disputes (led by Charles Kimmins QC) and ethanol sale disputes (led by Michael Collett QC).

- Acting as sole counsel in a 3-day LMAA arbitration relating to claims for demurrage and further damages (total claim in excess of USD3m).

- Acting as sole counsel in a 5-day LMAA arbitration relating to serious engine damage allegedly caused by contaminated bunkers (approx. USD3m).

- Acting as a Tribunal secretary in a very high profile oil and gas arbitration, assisting the Tribunal with all aspects of case preparation.

Charlotte regularly accepts instructions from overseas clients, in particular Singapore and Hong Kong, providing advices and pleadings as well as assisting with all aspects of case preparation for final hearings.

In 2009 she spent time at a large London LLP working within the international trade department. In 2010 she was seconded to Rajah & Tann in Singapore.



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

Education and Career: 

Prior to joining chambers Charlotte read law at St John's College, University of Cambridge MA (Double First). 


  • Queen Mother Scholarship from Middle Temple;
  • Munsteven Scholarship (2006 and 2007) St John's College, Cambridge;
  • the Abdullah Yusuf Ali Prize (2006) St John's College, Cambridge;
  • the A.J. Iacovides Prize for International Law (2006) St John's College, Cambridge;
  • the Phineas Quass Prize (2006), St John's College, Cambridge;
  • the Hughes Prize (2007) St John's College, Cambridge; and
  • the Winfield Prize (2007) St John's College, Cambridge.

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