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Christopher Hancock QC


Christopher Hancock QC was educated at Trinity College Cambridge and Harvard Law School. He was called to the Bar in 1983, became a tenant at what was then 3 Essex Court (now 20 Essex Street) in 1985, and took silk in 2000. He was appointed as a Recorder in 2004, and a deputy high court judge in 2008.

He has appeared before Courts at all levels, including the High Court, Court of Appeal, House of Lords and Privy Council. He is a CEDR accredited mediator and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is the former Chairman of COMBAR, having been vice chairman between 2007 and 2009, and is a member of the BMLA (having sat on its Carriage of Goods by Sea Committee for many years) and a supporting member of the LMAA.


  • Commercial Law
  • Insurance and Reinsurance
  • Shipping (Carriage by Sea, Ship Sale and Purchase, Shipbuilding)
  • Sales of Goods and International Trade (including Commodities and Banking)
  • Jurisdictional Disputes
  • General Contractual Disputes

Education and Career: 

Joint Head of Chambers at 20 Essex Street (August 2014 - present)

Trinity College Cambridge, MA, 1st Class Harvard Law School LLM


Contributor to MacGillivray on "Insurance Law"

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

  • Former Chairman Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR)
  • Vice Chairman Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR) 2007-2009
  • Chairman North American Committee COMBAR 2005-2007
  • Chairman BMLA EDI Subcommittee 2000 Member BMLA Committee on Carriage of Goods by Sea 1987-2002
  • Member BMLA Subcommittee on Charterers' Rights to Limit Liability 2008
  • Member Legal Advisory Group of the Electronic Commerce Association 1996-2000
  • Supporting Member LMAA.


"'very highly regarded' in the field of insurance and reinsurance, an area in which he is described as 'very knowledgeable of the law'." Who's Who Legal 2018 (Insurance and Reinsurance)

"He is a very smooth operator and a very nice guy, who is highly effective." Chambers UK 2018 (Insurance)

"When you have something big-value he is outstanding." Chambers Global & UK 2018 (Shipping & Commodities)

"He has an amazing mind and is the most down-to-earth person at the Bar. He explains in such a clear, helpful fashion." Chambers Global & UK 2018 (Shipping & Commodities)

"He has the experience and insight to perform well." Legal 500 2017 (Commodities)

"Solid and reliable for non-marine insurance." Legal 500 2017 (Insurance & Reinsurance)

"He has vast experience." Leal 500 2017 (Shipping)

"He is the go-to guy for anything super-intellectually demanding and high stakes. He is one of the sharpest minds at the Commercial Bar." Chambers UK 2017 (Shipping & Commodities)

"He has a razor-sharp mind." Legal 500 2017 (Shipping)

"Regarded as one of the top silks in relation to the sales of goods and international trade matters. He is also 'an absolute pleasure to work with'." Who's Who Legal 2017 (International Trade & Commodities)

"He has a real rigour to his analysis. His knowledge of all areas of shipping is phenomenal and he can really grasp the issues, analyse them and drive them home." Chambers UK 2016 (Shipping & Commodities)

"He is one of the best performers at the Shipping Bar." Chambers UK 2015 (Shipping & Commodities)

"Well respected in this field." Legal 500 2016 (Shipping)

"A highly effective advocate." The Legal 500 2014 (Energy)

"A very safe pair of hands" The Legal 500 2014 (Insurance and Reinsurance)

"One of the stars of this leading set; very solid and tenacious" The Legal 500 2014 (Commodities)

"Highly experienced in shipping and related insurance/reinsurance matters" The Legal 500 2014 (International Arbitration)

"A delight to work with, he's incisive and extremely bright. Extremely capable, he's exceptional value for money." Chambers UK 2014

‘Solicitors like him as he is “ready to get into the detail of a case and is highly adept at reading judges”. Chambers UK 2013

'Christopher Hancock QC is "nothing short of exceptional" The Legal 500 2012

"Christopher Hancock of 20 Essex Street is 'one of the best insurance lawyers at the Bar'." The Legal 500 2011

'Christopher Hancock QC is regarded as a "hidden gem" ...  Sources appreciate his "cerebral, logical approach," and regard him as a "switched on and highly effective barrister" with superior client-facing skills.' Chambers UK 2011

"extremely popular" and  "known for his wide expertise in commercial disputes" Chambers UK 2010