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Michael Coburn QC

BA, Dip. Law

Michael Coburn practises in all aspects of commercial law, usually with an international dimension, with particular emphasis on shipping, international sale of goods, and commodities. He acts in English court and arbitration proceedings.

Born in 1966, he was educated at Charterhouse (1979-1984) and Worcester College, Oxford (1984 - 1988), where he read Literae Humaniores, following which he obtained a Diploma in Law from City University (1988-1989).

He was called to the Bar (Inner Temple) in 1990 and has been in practice since 1991.

He has acted as arbitrator in a number of references, and is willing to accept appointments as arbitrator.


  • Shipping
  • Commodities
  • Insurance/Reinsurance
  • Arbitration

Principal Cases: 

Spar Shipping AS v Grand China Logistics Holding (Group) Co Ltd [2015] EWHC 718 (Comm) Shipping; Whether Obligation to Pay Hire a Condition; Guarantees; Measure of Damages.

Griffon Shipping LLC v Firodi Shipping Ltd (The Griffon) [2013] EWCA Civ 1567; [2014] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 593; [2014] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 471 Contract terms; Deposits; Interpretation; Repudiation; Sale of ships; Shipping contracts; Standard forms of contract

Polestar Maritime Ltd v YHM Shipping Co Ltd (The Rewa) [2012] EWCA Civ 153; [2012] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 447; [2012] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 510; [2012] 1 C.L.C. 381. Bills of sale; Certificates; Contracts of sale; Contract terms; Detention; Sale of ships

Owneast Shipping Ltd v Qatar Navigation QSC [2010] EWHC 1663 (Comm); [2010] 2 C.L.C. 42 Bad faith; Contract terms; Deductions; Intention; Non-payment; Off-hire clauses; Payments; Recklessness; Time charterparties

Emeraldian Ltd Partnership v Wellmix Shipping Ltd [2010] EWHC 1411 (Comm); [2010] 1 C.L.C. 993 Applicable law; Berths; Breach of warranty; Delay; Demurrage; Guarantees; Laytime; Voyage charterparties

BW Gas AS v JAS Shipping Ltd [2010] EWCA Civ 68; [2010] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 626; [2010] 1 C.L.C. 136 Charterparties; Charterparties by demise; Contract terms; Interpretation; Shipbuilding

Novologistics Sarl v Five Ocean Corp [2009] EWHC 3046 (Comm) Awards; Berths; Demurrage; Interpretation; Voyage charterparties

HSBC Bank Plc v 5th Avenue Partners Ltd Court of Appeal [2009] EWCA Civ 296; [2009] 1 C.L.C. 503; [2009] Lloyd's Rep. F.C. 338 Bankers' duties; Banking; Causation; Duty of care; Fraud; Instructions; Investments; Misrepresentation; Negligent misstatement; Vicarious liability

Bulk & Metal Transport (UK) LLP v Voc Bulk Ultra Handymax Pool LLC (VocGallant) [2009] EWHC 288 (Comm); [2009] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 377; [2009] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 418 Admissibility; Arbitral proceedings; Arbitration clauses; Civil evidence; Hague Rules; Limitations; Time charterparties

Acertec Construction Products Ltd (Formerly BRC Ltd) v Thamesteel Ltd [2008] EWHC 2966 (Comm) Breach of contract; Certainty; Contract price; Repudiation; Summary judgments; Termination

Ocean Pride Maritime Ltd Partnership v Qingdao Ocean Shipping Co (TheNorthgate) [2007] EWHC 2796 (Comm); [2008] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 330; [2008] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 511 Arrived ship; Berths; Demurrage; Implied authority; Laytime; Voyage charterparties; Waiver

Trafigura Beheer BV v Kookmin Bank Co [2005] EWHC 2350 (Comm) Allocation of jurisdiction; Anti suit injunctions; Foreign proceedings; Jurisdiction; South Korea

Borgship Tankers Inc v Product Transport Corp Ltd (The Casco) [2005] EWHC 273 (Comm); [2005] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 565; [2005] 1 C.L.C. 232 Time charterparty; Hague Rules; Time Limits; Shelltime 4 form.

CMA CGM SA v Classica Shipping Co Ltd (The CMA Djakarta) Court of Appeal [2004] EWCA Civ 114; [2004] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 865; [2004] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 460; [2004] 1 C.L.C. 468 Cargo owners; Charterers; Damage to property; Dangerous goods; Limit of liability; Shipowners

Caribbean Petroleum Corp v Cristal Ltd (The Morris J Berman) [2003] EWHC 2357 (Comm); [2004] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 48 Compensatory damages; Contract terms; Marine pollution; Oil pollution; Shipping contracts

Sandeman Coprimar SA v Transitos y Transportes Integrales SL Court of Appeal [2003] EWCA Civ 113; [2003] Q.B. 1270; [2003] 2 W.L.R. 1496; [2003] 3 All E.R. 108; [2003] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 504; [2003] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 172 Carriage by road; Compensation; Consequential loss; Customs duty; Remoteness; Sub bailment

Strive Shipping Corp v Hellenic Mutual War Risks Association (Bermuda) Ltd (The Grecia Express) [2002] EWHC 203 (Comm); [2002] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 213; [2002] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 88; [2003] 1 C.L.C. 401; [2002] Lloyd's Rep. I.R. 669 Barratry; Burden of proof; Disclosure; Marine insurance; Standard of proof

Demand Shipping Co Ltd v Ministry of Food, Bangladesh (The Lendoudis Evangelos II) [2001] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 304; [2001] C.L.C. 1598 General Average; Unseaworthiness.

Transpacific Discovery SA v Cargill International SA (The Elpa) [2001] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 937; [2001] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 596; [2001] C.L.C. 1252 Authorisation; Bills of lading; Charterparties

Petroleo Brasiliero SA v Mellitus Shipping Inc (The Baltic Flame) Court of Appeal [2001] EWCA Civ 418; [2001] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 993; [2001] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 203; [2001] C.L.C. 1151 Contribution; Foreign jurisdictions; Part 20 proceedings; Service of process

A Meredith Jones & Co Ltd v Vangemar Shipping Co Ltd (The Apostolis) (No.2) Court of Appeal [2000] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 337; [2000] C.L.C. 1488 Cargo; Causation; Counterclaims; Demurrage; Fire

Tradigrain SA v King Diamond Marine Ltd (The Spiros C) [1999] 1 All E.R. 837; [1999] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 91; [1999] C.L.C. 1136 Shipper's implied obligations; freight

JA Chapman & Co Ltd (In Liquidation) v Kadirga Denizcilik ve Ticaret AS Court of Appeal [1998] C.L.C. 860; [1998] Lloyd's Rep. I.R. 377 Insurance brokers; Marine insurance; Premiums

Lauritzen Reefers v Ocean Reef Transport Ltd SA (The Bukhta Russkaya) [1997] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 744 Hague rules; Time charterparties; Time limits

Grains & Fourrages SA v Huyton [1997] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 628 Rectification; Shipping

Fyffes Group Ltd v Reefer Express Lines Pty Ltd [1996] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 171 Carriage by sea; Carriers; Causation; Seaworthiness

EG Cornelius & Co Ltd v Christos Maritime Co Ltd (The Christos) [1995] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 106 Charterparties; Demurrage

Atlantic Marine Transport Corp v Coscol Petroleum Corp (The Pina) Court of Appeal [1992] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 103 Standard forms of contract; Time charterparties; Variation


Education and Career: 

B.A. (Oxon); Dip. Law (City)

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

Supporting member of LMAA.


"Outstanding." Chambers Global & UK Bar 2018

"He's able and conscientious and gives you the feeling that he really cares." Chambers Global & UK Bar 2018

"A strong advocate, who stays calm and clear throughout a case." Legal 500 2017

"He gives clear instruction and is very able." Legal 500 2017

"He has particular strength in providing prompt advice when it's required. He is very calm and self-assured and also has a keen eye for detail." Chambers UK Bar 2017

'Certainly prominent in big cases.' Who's Who Legal 2017 

'He is always very sensible, is easy to get on with, and is approachable and down-to-earth." Chambers UK 2016

'Very clear, calm and unflappable.' Legal 500 2016

'Michael Coburn QC is "a delightful opponent," who delights solicitors with his "fantastic judgement." "User-friendly and robust," in his approach he takes on matters of great complexity and importance.' Chambers UK 2013

'Michael Coburn QC earns plaudits for his "wonderfully persuasive advocacy style."' Peers comment that "it's real edge of your seat stuff that captures everyone's attention." This "star in the making" was led by Iain Milligan QC on The Zodiac this year' Chambers UK 2012

'A persuasive, calm and delightful advocate' Chambers & Partners 2010

'Very wise judgement and technically thorough approach' Chambers & Partners 2010

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