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Lawrence Akka QC

BA (Oxon), MBCS


Lawrence Akka’s practice encompasses high value technically complex commercial and contractual disputes particularly those involving new technologies, media and telecommunications, frequently with an international element. He is instructed to appear in courts at all levels and in numerous confidential IT, shipping, commodity, and commercial arbitrations and mediations, in the UK and abroad.

In his technology practice, he has acted in a wide range of software and hardware procurement, outsourcing, development, e-commerce, broadcasting, Internet and telecommunications law disputes. He is the co-author of IT Contracts and Dispute Management (Edward Elgar, March 2018), the only English Law book addressing the law relating to technology projects and the practical, procedural and legal issues which arise at each stage. 

Lawrence has been recommended as a leading IT Silk in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners for several years and is the vice-chairman (civil) of the Bar Council IT Panel.

He has been involved with Information Technology for over 30 years, and has a thorough grasp of the technical and other issues involved in the industry. He has written a number of domestic and business software applications, and is fluent in several computer programming languages.

Lawrence also has a significant wider commercial practice in shipping, banking, commodities, fraud and commercial law.

He sits as sole, party-appointed and presiding arbitrator in both technology and commercial disputes, and has accepted appointments under many different sets of rules.


  • Information Technology
  • Internet Law
  • Outsourcing
  • Software Development Contracts
  • Data protection (DPA and GDPR) and data management
  • Commercial applications of blockchains, cryptocurrencies and smart contracts
  • Telecommunications and Broadcasting
  • International Trade
  • Commodities
  • Oil and Gas
  • Shipping
  • Shipbuilding
  • Commercial Arbitration
  • Mediation
  • Commercial Law
  • Banking and Financial Services
  • Derivatives
  • Private International Law and Jurisdictional Disputes

Principal Cases: 

Information Technology

SAP (UK) Limited v Diageo Great Britain Limited [2017] EWHC 189 (TCC) Representing SAP in a claim for £54m for usage of SAP's ERP software in excess of licence by Diageo - the leading case on indirect use or access.

T-Systems Ltd v EE Represented T-Systems against Everything Everywhere in an £80 million IT services dispute regarding the migration and management of Orange and EE's legacy IT infrastructure.

Filmflex Movies v Piksel Dispute over the rights under a development and managed services contract to the source code for a video streaming platform involving consideration of source code escrow and distributed version control systems.

Advising in relation to a dispute concerning the renewal of hosting arrangements for a national professional body.

Advising in a multi-million pound dispute concerning the use of software outside the licensed territory, including issues of assignment/novation/interpretation.

Regularly advising in relation to claims for delay and defects in very large scale (£tens of million) transformation, design and implementation projects for and against many of the leading IT services companies.

Advising a government department in relation to a £multi-million contract for national roll-out of outsourced IT services.

Advising in relation to disclosure of confidential information and availability of injunctions concerning bid documentation for IT outsourcing project.

Providing expert evidence of English law for foreign court on jurisdiction/arbitration clauses in a Mobile telcoms distribution agreement.

Advising on Worldwide Freezing injunctions and the effect of the hacking of an email account involving a fraudulent SWIFT transaction.

Advising an NHS Trust on termination of a multi-year managed services IT contract for defective and delayed performance.

Advising a worldwide software provider in relation to unauthorised resale of software licences.

Nokia Corp v HTC Corp Application for a stay under s.9(3) of the Arbitration Act 1996 in multi-jurisdictional mobile telephone patent litigation.

Skype Technologies SA v Joltid Limited Acting for Skype / eBay in a multinational software licencing and copyright dispute concerning the use of the P2P technology at the core of the Skype VOIP application.

Atos Consulting Ltd v Avis Europe plc Multi million pound pan-European ERP software project - application to strike out 60 page Particulars of Claim under CPR 3.4 - exercise of Court's jurisdiction and discretion - termination of a master services agreement relating to ERP software and Shared Service Centre (9 week trial in TCC which settled during hearing).

Peregrine Systems v Steria (TCC and Court of Appeal) Helpdesk outsourcing - software development and implementation contract - termination clause and common law termination - misrepresentation - meaning of remediable breach - documentation and training requirements - ITIL compliance - reasonable time for performance of IT contracts



Advising an international broadcaster in relation to TV series production contract/distribution rights/quality issues.

Advising on interpretation and termination of media distribution contracts for a major broadcaster.

Advising on commercial issues arising out of a high profile broadcasting libel.

Advising on interpretation and breach of a media talent contracts, including for breach by a well known TV celebrity and commercial rights.

Advising in relation to a claim for breach of a media distribution and licensing agreement.

Advising in relation to termination of contract for distribution rights of video on demand.

Advising national broadcaster in dispute with global media company for on-demand content provision

TARBS Europe SA v Macedonia Commercial Court claims for over €60 million concerning the provision of satellite segment space and broadcasting facilities.


Commercial Contracts

Obtaining Worldwide asset disclosure orders and Wordwide Freezing Orders in several related cases, resulting in successful enforcement of arbitration awards.

Advising on claims under bills of lading and sale contracts for condensation damage during shipment. Allegations of breaches of the Hague/Hague Visby Rules, and of failure to enter into a shipping contract on appropriate terms.

Acting/advising in multiple connected disputes in different jurisdictions and fora in a multi-million dollar dispute concerning the operation of a bioethanol plant.

Advising in several Bill of Lading disputes concerning identity of shipper problems.

Advising on a charterparty dispute concerning identity and amount of cargo to be shipped.

Advising in relation to ship-financing and security problems arising on sale of ships.

Advising in numerous ship and container laytime and demurrage disputes.

Advising in relation to recovery of damages/general average against various parties in relation to a ship fire.

Advising in relation to the bank financing arrangements concerning ship sale contracts worth in exces of USD26 million.

Acting in numerous GAFTA/FOSFA/RSA/SAL and other trade body commodity arbitration disputes.

Advising on remedies arising for breach of Worldwide Freezing Orders in several banking, commodities and shipping cases, including the applicability of receivership orders.

Providing an expert opinion on English law for a foreign court in relation to dangerous cargoes and the law of indemnities.

Providing an expert opinion on English law for the Malaysian Court in ship arrest proceedings concerning the OW Bunkers litigation.

Advising in several cases in relation to issues arising in the OW Bunkers litigation concerning payment, title to goods and privity of contract.

Asia Islamic Trade Finance Fund Ltd v Drum Risk Management Ltd [2015] EWHC 3590 and [2015] EWHC 3748 (Comm) One of the leading cases on committal and sentencing for contempt of court for breach of an asset disclosure order. Fraud/theft of security provided in relation to a Sharia Compliant Murabaha Financing Agreement/ Structured Commodity Trade Finance. Conversion/trespass to goods/bailment/conspiracy/pledge interests.

Flame SA v Glory Wealth Shipping Pte Ltd [2013] EWHC 3153 (Comm), [2014] QB 1080 Challenges under ss68 and 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996 relating to a long-term COA. One of the key cases concerning the assessment of damages for breach of contract when the innocent party would not have been able to perform.

Advising concerning claims in excess of USD20 million for unperformed voyages under a long-term COA.

Novasen SA v Alimenta SA [2011] 1 Lloyd's Rep 390 Jurisdictional challenge under s.67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 arising from a FOSFA commodity arbitration - agency - undisclosed principal - separability of arbitration agreements.

JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov [2010] EWHC 1779 (Comm), [2010] EWCA Civ 1141, etc, Commercial Court and Court of Appeal. Multi-billion dollar banking fraud in Kazakhstan - Freezing injunctions - receivership - ordinary course of business proviso - tracing - breach of fiduciary duty.

Fiona Trust v Privalov [2010] Commercial Court shipping fraud claims for over USD800 million.

Novologistics SARL v Five Ocean Corp - "The Merida" [2009] EWHC 3046 LMAA arbitration appeal to Commercial Court - demurrage - responsibility for delay at Chinese port - port or berth charterparty.

Farenco Shipping Co Ltd v Daebo Shipping Co Ltd - The "Bremen Max" [2009] 1 Lloyd's Rep 81. Delivery without bills of lading - misdelivery - validity of security and standard form charterparty letters of indemnity.

Gulf Agri Trade FZCO v Aston Agro Industrial AG [2008] 2 Lloyd's Rep 376 Arbitration appeal from GAFTA award - default clause and notice - anticipatory breach of contract.

Serena Navigation Ltd v Dera Commercial Establishment - "The Limnos" [2008] 2 Lloyd's Rep 166 Package or unit limitation under the Hague and Hague Visby Rules Art IV rule 5(a) - Economic loss - meaning of "goods lost or damaged".

Gold Coast Ltd v Naval Gijon SA - "Hull 553" [2006] 2 Lloyd's Rep 400 Long running shipbuilding dispute concerning delay in the construction of a chemical tanker for USD38 million - seven arbitration awards - Arbitration Act section 57 - correct test for granting extensions of time.

Education and Career: 

  • St Catherine's College, Oxford: First Class BA (Hons) in Law, and a Martin Wronker Prize winner.
  • Hardwicke Scholarship (Lincoln's Inn)
  • Cassell Scholarship (Lincoln's Inn)
  • Everard ver Hayden Foundation Prize for Advocacy (CLE)

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

  • Member of the British Computer Society (MBCS)
  • Society for Computers and Law
  • Commercial Bar Association
  • Member of the Admiralty & Commercial Court Users Committee
  • Supporting member of the London Maritime Arbitrators' Association
  • LCIA
  • Fraud Lawyers Association

Lectures and Teaching: 

He has lectured widely in the IT and shipping fields.


"He is an excellent standalone commercial silk but combines that with a deep knowledge of the IT industry and IT, so he can run complex cases very efficiently." (Chambers UK 2018) 

"Skilled at handling complex technical cases." (Legal 500 2017)

"He doesn't just look at the law but get involved in the underlying merits, which is very important." (Chambers UK 2017) 

"Clearly a man who knows his IT, he had a very comprehensive grasp of the issues in the case." (Chambers UK 2017)

"He is not afraid to dig into the complicated weeds of technical cases." (Legal 500 2016)

"He is intelligent, understands the industry and is very user-friendly." (Chambers UK Bar 2016)

"Laser precise, he is very efficient at getting to the heart of things, and is on top of the technical as well as the legal issues in a case." (Chambers UK Bar 2016)

"A strong choice for software and hardware procurement disputes." (Legal 500 2015)

'"Lawrence Akka QC is best recognised for his strong IT practice, but also turns his 'incredible brain' to shipping, commodities and insurance disputes ... solicitors praise his 'ability to always come up with an incredibly powerful legal analysis'." (Chambers UK 2013)

"He's not only 'a great black letter lawyer, but he also really understands the technical aspects of cases, which is something that comes across very well in court'." (Chambers UK 2013)

"excellent grasp of complex matters" (Legal 500 2012)

Noted for "his impressive clarity of thought, his industrious nature, easy grasp of the technical aspects of a case and excellent contract law knowledge." (Chambers & Partners 2012)

"very strong" and "well-respected" (Legal 500 2011)

"'very sound and straightforward' lawyer" (Chambers 2011)

"fantastically thorough and concise style that brings home the bacon time after time" (Chambers UK 2010)

"a major player on the scene" (Chambers UK 2010)

"a great cross-examiner with a real understanding of IT" (Legal 500 2010)

"a very good contract lawyer but understands the technology as well" (Chambers UK 2010)

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